D-11 recall effort under way
Parents upset that the Colorado Springs District 11 Board of Education has voted to close three schools are fighting back. El Paso County Clerk & Recorder Wayne Williams has received petitions to recall six members of the board — everyone except Bob Null, who fought in vain to keep Wasson High School open.
The petitions were brought by Mariam Kurvink, Elaine Shoemaker and Dorothy Dykes, all mothers of Wasson students. Elaine's son Aaron was featured in our Feb. 13 news story "(Making sure) the kids are alright." She says parents presented many plans to the board that weren't considered.
"It was just a total dismissal," she says. "It was almost like they were saying to us, 'You just get out of our business.'"
Williams initially rejected the petitions, but the group plans to resubmit with the minor changes Williams requested. If the documents are eventually approved, the petitions could circulate for 60 days. A minimum of 15,000 verified signatures is required to initiate a recall election for a given board member.
The clerk estimates that an election could come around mid-July if the petitions are successful. D-11 would need to pay for a recall election. In 2006, a recall that ousted two board members (with another resigning) cost $256,729. — J. Adrian Stanley
Woman picked to lead AFA
A female has been nominated as superintendent of the Air Force Academy for the first time in its history.
Last week, President Obama nominated Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson to take over from Lt. Gen. Mike Gould (see Between the Lines). A 1981 academy grad with a degree in operations and intelligence, Johnson also has been nominated for a third star, a traditional promotion for academy superintendent.
Currently serving as NATO's deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, Johnson was the first female cadet wing commander and the academy's first female Rhodes scholar. She earned a master's degree in politics and economics from Oxford University and also received a master's in national security strategy from the National War College.
Johnson has logged more than 3,600 flight hours in C-141s and KC-135s, among others, and taught political science at the academy from 1989 to 1992. The Senate must confirm the appointment. — Pam Zubeck
Cash comes to candidates
Those running for six district City Council seats in Colorado Springs raked in more than $81,000 from Feb. 11 to 23, according to campaign finance filings due Monday. Real estate investors and development interests were by far the biggest contributors.
Here's a listing of amounts raised during the most recent cycle:
District 1 (northwest): Joe Barrera, $1,035; Don Knight, $1,950; Tim Leigh, $12,100.
District 2 (north): Angela Dougan, $7,150; Joel Miller, $675; Bill Murray, $0.
District 3 (southwest): Jim Bensberg, $1,400; Tom Gallagher, $300; Keith King, $26,000; Bob Kinsey, no report; Brandy Williams, $4,860.
District 4 (southeast): Helen Collins, $2,153; Gary Flakes, $0; Deborah Hendrix, $8,200; Dennis Moore, $1,080.
District 5 (midtown): Jill Gaebler, $805; Bernie Herpin, $4,090; Al Loma, $2,500; Roger McCarville, $80.
District 6 (Northeast/east): Ed Bircham, $0; David Moore, $5,622; Andres Pico, $1,400. — Pam Zubeck
County moves on stormwater
El Paso County kicked off the second phase of a stormwater study Feb. 28, with a meeting that included a sprinkling of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs city councilors and county commissioners, as well as interested citizens and county staff. However, Colorado Springs staff, instrumental in the first part of the process, were notably absent from this meeting; Mayor Steve Bach has declined to approve their participation.
In January, a regional task force announced that the region has 601 projects that will cost $906.4 million to complete. More projects are expected to be added due to the flooding risks created by the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Commissioners, led by Amy Lathen, have been eager to have citizens assess and recommend a way to fund the projects. But Bach wants to wait until an engineering firm further maps out the problem. He has also said that he wants Colorado Springs Utilities to at least partially pay for the city's share.
Lathen says the county plans to charge ahead with the funding study regardless. "We're just going to barrel on through," she told a few dozen participants.
The citizen-led group could make a recommendation as soon as July. — J. Adrian Stanley